Red Enchilada Sauce

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Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – this restaurant-style enchilada sauce is simple and perfect to use for enchiladas, empanadas and even casseroles. You’ll never buy canned enchilada sauce again.

Use it for cheese enchiladas, empanadas or even some of your favorite Mexican casseroles – but once you go homemade you’ll never buy store bought again. This recipe is beyond simple!

Red Enchilada Sauce

Better than store bought

Have you ever made or had homemade red enchilada sauce? It seems like it might be a hard thing to do, but the recipe we are sharing today is simple and a family favorite. We use it for our Red Cheese Enchiladas and Beef Empanadas, and it’s phenomenal.

Yes, you can buy red enchilada sauce in the can, but it doesn’t compare to this homemade version. It takes just a few ingredients (ones we typically have on hand), and is made in under 20 minutes.

With the chili powder in this recipe, there is some spice, but you can change the amount of powder you used based on what your family likes. Also note that how much chili powder and which brand you use will determine the color of the sauce. Generic chili powders tend to be darker. And the more powder, the darker the sauce. 😉

How to Make red Enchilada Sauce process pictures

How to Make red Enchilada Sauce

This sauce is so simple and delicious! Here are the ingredients needed to make it:

  • chili powder (we prefer Gebhardt’s)
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • salt
  • cumin
  • chicken broth

The sauce is made by adding oil to a pot and heating on medium heat. Pour in flour and create a roux by whisking together for 1-2 minutes.

Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt cumin and oregano and mix until clumpy. Pour in chicken broth, whisking the entire time and until there are no more clumps. Heat for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

TIP: You know the sauce is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon well. If you see the picture below on the left, you can see that the sauce looks watery and doesn’t stick to the spoon. The picture on the right shows that the sauce is thick and sticks to the back of the wooden spoon showing that it’s ready.

Tips for making easy red enchilada sauce

making enchilada sauce ahead of time

Yes, we always do! In fact, I like to quadruple the batch of seasonings or even the sauce to use for later. For example, I will often combine the following ingredients and keep them in a jar in the cabinet:

  • 3/4 cup  Gebhardt chili powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin

Then, when I’m making enchiladas, I’ll spoon out 3 heaping tablespoons of the mixture which is equivalent to about one batch. Makes for easy cooking.

Cheese Enchiladas Sauce

How to store enchilada sauce?

The other thing I will do is quadruple the entire sauce recipe and then STORE the leftovers in a freezer-safe container in the freezer (which can last for up to 2 months). It can also be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Then, when I’m ready to make enchiladas I typically take out the sauce the day before and let it thaw overnight in the fridge. I think heat it up on the stove until it is smooth. If it’s too thick, you can add a little more chicken broth to thin it out.

Red enchilada Sauce uses:

We love to use this sauce in a few of our favorite recipes, including:

Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe in a Jar

We sure love this sauce and hope you like it too! It’s definitely become a favorite and one we use for all of our cheese enchiladas.

For more Mexican recipes, check out:

Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe

5 from 9 votes

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce - this restaurant-style enchilada sauce is simple and perfect to use for enchiladas, empanadas and even casseroles. You'll never buy canned enchilada sauce again.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 jar
Calories 100 kcal
Author Kristyn Merkley

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tsbp flour
  • 3 tbsp chili powder (we prefer Gebhardt's)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Add oil to a pot and heat on medium heat. Pour in flour and create a roux by whisking together for 1-2 minutes.

  2. Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt cumin and oregano and mix until clumpy. 

  3. Pour in chicken broth, whisking the entire time and until there are no more clumps. Heat for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

  4. TIP: You know the sauce is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon well. If you see the picture below on the left, you can see that the sauce looks watery and doesn't stick to the spoon. The picture on the right shows that the sauce is thick and sticks to the back of the wooden spoon showing that it's ready.

Recipe Video

Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative – from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

More by Kristyn

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This sauce is amazing! it is perfect for enchiladas! It is so easy to make & love that I can store it, to use for other recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    Our favorite red chili sauce! Easy to make and comes together quickly. I love to make this in a big batch so I can use in other recipes. Such a great sauce to have on hand.

  3. 5 stars
    this looks so good. I know what is going to be on my menu next week! i prefer homemade sauces so thanks so much for this new recipe!

  4. Hello, recently made your basic bread recipe, first time using yeast and it turned out phenomenal!! My husband and i ate way more than 2 people should HAVE….Anyways, I’M looking through your other recipes and have stumbled on this sauce. Curious HOW long it lasts? If i make the sauce and am not using it IMMEDIATELY. Can i store it in the fridge for a bit? Thank you for your help!

  5. 5 stars
    Wonder sauce!!! I live alone, so I pour sauce into ice cube trays, freeze, then ziplock the cubes for meals. I was us a very good sauce from AllrecipEs, but Yours is even bettEr. I still do enchladas the old fashioned way, fry the tortillas lightly, dip, & roll. My kids do the prep still, but they stack into a casserole style. Thanks for posting!! Blessings!!!

  6. 5 stars
    I just spent the last two hours trying to re-find this website amongst all the imposters! I absolutely love this recipe and it will be passed down from generation to generation in my family forever!!! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Excellent sauce! Clear directions. I used vegetable broth due to having a vegetarian eater. I was a little concerned that i had not taken into Account the salt in the Broth, but it turned Out great. I skipped the oregano becaUse i didn’t think my diners would be expecting that flavor. To make 18, i doubled the recipe. They were plenty saucy, but might triple next tIme and make tWo dozen and have some sauce ledt over for drizzLing on top before baking.

  8. sauce came out dark brown for me and just tastes like chili powder. what did i do wrong? recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of chili powder, but it seems like way too much.

  9. 5 stars
    Life changing! It may sound corny but seriously, this sauce was soooo delicious and super easy! I have been using another blogs homemade recipe for the last few years and decided to give this one a try. So glad I did!!